Welcome to the 8-19-21 edition of our 2021 MiLB Prospect Notes.
We are entering the home stretch of the minor league season. The AAA regular season ends on October 3rd. The last day for the Complex Leagues is September 18th and for Low A. High A and AA the last day of the regular season is September 19th.
It will interesting to see how AAA will look once the rest of the minor leagues are finished. I anticipate that for position players, teams will want their most important prospects to get a couple of more weeks of game action. For pitchers that missed time during the season, such as George Kirby, Emerson Hancock, or Connor Seabold it may be an opportunity to build up more innings.
2021 MiLB Prospect Notes 8-19-21
Forty Man Roster Decisions
The class of 2017 international free agents must either be put on the forty-man roster this offseason or be exposed to the Rule V draft. The cancellation of the minor league season in 2020 limited the amount of game action that players from this class have received before organizations must make a decision.
For example, Jhonkensy Noel signed with the Indians on July 15, 2017. As is typical, Noel spent 2018 in the Dominican Summer League and 2019 in the Arizona Summer League. Noel has been limited to 38 games in Low A in 2021 due to a couple of nagging injuries. He has proven he can hit and was promoted to High A earlier this week.
The Indians will have a particularly tight roster with many promising young middle infielders in their organization. From a dynasty league perspective, Noel has a huge upside as a hitter. However, from a real-life perspective, his value is lower because he is righthanded and most likely limited defensively to 1st base.
If there was a 2020 season, the Indians would have more information to decide if Noel should be protected and if he is not protected the other organizations would have more information to decide if they should pick him in the Rule V draft.
Jhonkensy Noel must have been sitting breaking ball because he hammered this onel pic.twitter.com/UtpSLMRTYG
— Justin L. (@JL_Baseball) August 11, 2021
Complex Leagues Statistics
I do not pay a lot of attention to a prospect’s stats in the rookie leagues because I do not believe they are meaningful.
The pitching depth in the rookie league is poor and hitters can rack up numbers against poor pitching. I have seen too many prospects get exposed once they reach full-season ball.
Extra Base Hits
Here are the minor league players with the most extra-base hits.
|Name||Team||Level||Extra Base Hits||G||Age||2B||3B||HR||BB||SO||SB||CS|
|Bobby Witt Jr.||KCR||AA/AAA||47||86||21||18||4||25||36||93||20||9|
|Joe Gray Jr.||MIL||A/A+||45||85||21||19||9||17||46||98||18||2|
Anthony Volpe now has 19 home runs on the season, second most in the Yankees organization. Also, Volpe is listed as 5 foot 11, 180 lbs. pic.twitter.com/2PQT0G6zDn
— Eli Fishman (@elijfishman) August 14, 2021
xFIP attempts to measure a pitcher’s performance independent of defense and based on a league-average home run to flyball ratio. Here are the qualified minor league players with the best xFIP in full-season ball.
Three New Prospects To Know
Felix Valerio (INF Brewers)
Listed at 5’7″ 165 lbs, Valerio is an ideal lead-off hitter with excellent on-base skills and good speed.
Valerio was originally signed by the Mets in March 2018 as an under-the-radar international free agent from the Dominican Republic. In 2018 he played in the Dominican Summer League where he had a .409 on-base percentage and was among the league leaders with 17 doubles. However, the Mets included Valerio in a package to obtain Keon Broxton prior to the 2019 season.
Valerio spent 2019 with the Brewers rookie team in the Arizona Summer League where he was solid as an 18-year-old with a .389 OBP and 16 steals.
However, this year in his first season in full-season ball, Valerio has taken a leap forward. He is among the league leaders in runs, doubles, on-base percentage, RBIs, and steals. Valerio’s 33 extra-base hits even give some indication that he could hit for a bit of power as he matures.
Valerio has played 2nd base, shortstop, and 3rd base but his future is likely at 2nd base. Valerio was promoted to High A Wisconsin on August 17th. Given his size, you cannot help but think of Jose Altuve. While comparisons to Altuve are unrealistic, Valerio is a prospect worth watching.
Jose Butto (RHP Mets)
The Mets have had recent success in AA with unheralded pitchers such as Adam Oller who was recently promoted to AAA and struck out 13 in his first AAA game and Cole Gordon who has two hits in his last 17 innings with 28 strikeouts. The pitcher I am going to look at here is Jose Butto.
Butto was a 19 years old under-the-radar international free agent signing by the Met in June 2017 from Venezuela. After spending 2017 in the Dominican Summer League, Butto came stateside in 2018 and pitched well in the Appalachian League before having a more difficult time in the NY Penn League.
In 2019, Butto had a solid season in Full season A for the Columbia Fireflies. He pitched 112 innings and the Mets limited his innings in August to two innings a start.
Butto was similarly solid the first few months of 2021 with High A Brooklyn. However, after he got promoted to AA Binghamton, he really started to impress. Butto has made five AA starts and in each of the last three starts, he has pitched six scoreless innings. In these 18 innings, Butto has only allowed eight hits and two walks while striking out 20. He has a changeup that flashes plus.
#Mets No. 14 prospect Jose Butto carried a no-no into the sixth. Final line:
8 K pic.twitter.com/cxWmsZgk1y
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 8, 2021
Ryan Noda (LF/1B Dodgers)
Ryan Noda was a 15th round pick by the Blue Jays out of the University of Cincinnati. He is a three outcome hitter with little defensive value. However, the designated hitter in the National League appears inevitable in the next collective bargaining agreement which will benefit a player like Noda.
The Dodgers acquired Noda in the Ross Stripling deal and he is spent 2021 at AA with the Tulsa Drillers.
Noda is lefthanded and has 21 homers and a.377 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching in 274 plate appearances. Noda projects to be a productive hitter on the strong side of a platoon particularly in OBP leagues.
Comings and Goings
Prospects Changing Levels
Another very busy week with promotions.
My number 19 prospect, Jose Barrero was promoted to the majors. He was in the majors briefly in 2020 but was not ready. After excelling in the upper minors in 2021 he should be in a better position to succeed.
A number of 2021 draft picks were moved up to full-season ball.
|8/12/21||Pirates||Henry Davis||Complex||High A|
|8/16/21||Diamondbacks||Brandon Pfaadt||High A||AA|
|8/16/21||Tigers||Reese Olson||High A||AA|
|8/16/21||Diamondbacks||Eduardo Diaz||High A||AA|
|8/16/21||Padres||Moises Lugo||High A||AA|
|8/16/21||Diamondbacks||Collin Sullivan||Low A||High A|
|8/16/21||Tigers||Jack O'Loughlin||Low A||High A|
|8/16/21||Diamondbacks||Ronny Simon||Low A||High A|
|8/16/21||Diamondbacks||Elian Miranda||Low A||High A|
|8/16/21||Tigers||Carlos Mendoza||Complex||low A|
|8/16/21||Diamondbacks||Jeferson Espinal||Complex||Low A|
|8/17/21||Blue Jays||Otto Lopez||AAA||MLB|
|8/17/21||Royals||Seuly Matias||High A||AA|
|8/17/21||Brewers||Felix Valerio||Low A||High A|
|8/17/21||White Sox||Yoelqui Cespedes||High A||AA|
|8/17/21||Indians||Jhonkensy Noel||Low A||High A|
|8/17/21||Orioles||Jordan Westburg||High A||AA|
|8/17/21||Orioles||Garrett Stallings||High A||AA|
|8/17/21||Giants||Jairo Pomares||Low A||High A|
|8/17/21||Marlins||Eury Perez||Low A||High A|
|8/17/21||Marlins||Dax Fulton||Low A||High A|
|8/17/21||Orioles||TT Bowens||Low A||High A|
|8/17/21||Orioles||Adam Stauffer||Low A||High A|
|8/17/21||Orioles||Coby Mayo||Complex||Low A|
|8/17/21||Orioles||Colton Cowser||Complex||Low A|
|8/17/21||Orioles||Connor Norby||Complex||Low A|
|8/18/21||Blue Jays||Kevin Smith||AAA||MLB|
|8/18/21||Marlins||Jose Salas||Complex||Low A|
Prospects Who Went On the IL
Prospects Coming Off the IL
Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our fantastic team of writers.